Table of Contents
International Journal of Plasma Science and Engineering
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 154035, 5 pages
Research Article

Etch Defect Characterization and Reduction in Hard-Mask-Based Al Interconnect Etching

Advanced Module Process Development Division, Technology Development Center, Macronix International Company, Ltd., (MD420) No.16, Li-Hsin Road, Science-Based Industrial Park, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan

Received 23 June 2008; Accepted 26 August 2008

Academic Editor: Jong-Shinn Wu

Copyright © 2008 Hong-Ji Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper identifies the defect adders, for example, post hard-mask etch residue, post metal etch residue, and blocked etch metal island and investigates the removal characteristics of these defects within the oxide-masked Al etching process sequence. Post hard-mask etch residue containing C atom is related to the hardening of photoresist after the conventional post-RIE ashing at 275C. An in situ O2-based plasma ashing on RIE etcher was developed to prevent the photoresist hardening from the high-ashing temperature; followed wet stripping could successfully eliminate such hardened polymeric residue. Post metal etch residue was caused from the attack of the Al sidewall by Cl atoms, and too much CHF3 addition in the Al main etch step passivated the surface of Al resulting in poor capability to remove the Al-containing residue. The lower addition of CHF3 in the Al main etch step would benefit from the residue removal. One possibility of blocked etch metal island creating was due to the micromasking formed on the opening of TiN during the hard-mask patterning. We report that an additional TiN surface pretreatment with the Ar/CHF3/N2 plasmas could reduce the impact of the micromasking residues on blocked metal etch.